Wednesday, November 11, 2009

One more life to add to the other

Good grief, one more thing. I joined Second Life. Ugh!!

I have a handful of friends that keep asking me to come into the fun of Second Life. I would sit in the group with them listening them talk about it and while it did sound intriguing, I held to my belief that I just have too much I never get done as it is, things I whine and complain about regularly on my blogs, and that I have no business adding yet one more thing to take my attention from no less than spinning, knitting, family research, SCA research (that never ever gets done), AOL roleplay (that gets too much done!), 16th century garb for myself and my daughter, Turkish embroidery (hardly touched) and so on. Oh yes and that I have a full time job and a 19 year old daughter still at home and not much of a social life. So do I really need to be in Second Life?  Then, I heard a lot about it this weekend in PA at the Pennsic Staff meeting I went to.

The culprit who tipped the scales much is Genie Weezles, much to the joy of my friends who have been telling me I should be in Second Life. My excuse was I don't have control over my first life, why do I need a second????!!!! Lol. Genie writes one of my favorite blogs, I have her tool bar too and I like it, btw. I met her in SL on my first night there and found her to be extremely nice and helpful. I am looking forward to sitting in on meetings and chats but right now I am all about figuring out the game. I rode a train in a 1885 Victorian village and went to Scotland though I was transported out by accidently walking onto private property. Heh.

One thing SL has awakened is my inner Barbie. Yes. My three nights in SL have been little more than shopping and dressing. Do not be surprised if I sit in on a Genealogy discussion dressed like Marie Antoinette. I have gone very period in my shopping. I have a nifty Tudor ensemble now and a pirate girl outfit. See, this is why I should not be in a place like this. It does remind me though of my Grandmother (Elizabeth Dewar Fender Duncan) who used to settle in for a night of my sister and I putting on a Barbie fashion show. Those are some of my best memories. She would have us narrate our outfits with details as we walked Barbie along the edge of the shiny black case like a runway and would ask questions about the garments. Those were wonderful times.

So, if you see an overdressed or perhaps underdressed, you just never know with me, character with a different hairdo every day named Genea Moorsider, that would be me!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Once Upon A Wall

The anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down reminds me that I have knowledge of history and how will my descendents know this unless I tell my story. Another one of those duh moments. We chase those links to the past but I know I forget that someday someone will want to know this about me.

I have seen this wall. I toured it when I was 17 and a young army wife while my husband was stationed in Ansbach. I saw the wall that kept East Germans inside their borders and I remember this tour 33 years later. I remember being afraid as being 17 I clearly remembered my European Studies classes in high school.

I boarded the bus and sat next to a window. I was excited and scared at the same time. The tour guide asked us not to make any gestures towards the watch towers or anyone guarding the wall saying that the bus could be apprehended and by law no one had to let the US government know we were in custody for 48 hours. This alone terrified me and being an impressionable teenager I took this as gospel and was actually afraid to lift my hand to eat the peanut M&M in it! Too, I had a baby on my lap. Our bus driver, however, was of a different mind and he was beeping the horn and making all sorts of gestures towards the soldiers the entire trip and I wondered if the man had a death wish for everyone on that bus! I have never been religious but I do remember looking up and mentally begging for a safe trip home and promising to never hit my sister again and so on. Come on, I was 17 and out of the nest way too soon and in a foreign country! I couldn't imagine why the bus driver would do all this, risking our lives, as that is what I thought he was doing. It is very easy to think this when you are looking out the window at men standing in uniform and holding a machine gun. Today I wonder what they thought. Were we just another bunch of American's to dislike or did they envy the freedom we had? If I had been older, I would have asked a thousand questions of the tour guide. What a missed opportunity being that I was of an age where I really had other interests and this was part of my arrival orientation to live in Germany with the Armed Forces.

The tour consisted of seeing the sights and hearing of the horrors. I gazed at innocent looking chain link fences. There was nothing innocent about them. They were razor sharp and would take the fingers off anyone trying to climb the fence. If they happened to get to the top they would get no further with barbed wire and a rolling tube waiting to keep them inside. Wide open fields would be seen and I would wonder why anyone could not just run and make it out. I did not realize it was not one solid wall around the country but then again, I was young. These areas were patrolled by Russian Wolf Hounds trained to eat from the trainers throat then left hungry enough during their time on duty. As explained, they were attack dogs. I never looked at the family dog again in quite the same way. There were towers where armed men would shoot to kill should anyone make a run for it. Then there were the check points and the wall. I was moved by it. I remember feeling so bad for the people behind it given no choice. I heard the stories of families and friends separated by just the placement of the wall; neighbors one day and then of different worlds the next. The Autobahn lined with slab walls and dynamite to set off stopping anyone who tried to leave or come in. I know there was a lot more but it was so long ago I don't remember it well and it was part of my very forgettable "first life" that I call it.

What I do remember clearly was the story about truck drivers. If they were delivering or picking up outside of the wall their families were put in protective custody to ensure the driver and the truck came back. That was what bothered me most out of everything I learned that day. Why are peaceful hard working people terrorized like that. This is where I come back to that bus driver that scared the life out of me with his outward behavior to the guards at check points all along this bus route. He was one of those truck drivers and he smuggled his wife and children out of the country in the truck he drove out. The sheer act of such bravery astounds me. Would I ever risk everything, the very lives of my family, to make a getaway like that? He knew what he was up against and the risk he put his family in. I can't begin to touch upon how this family must have felt through the planning and eventual escape. There had to be people they left behind. The bus was parked when the drivers story was told. What he got for it was a standing ovation and a pride so strong and seeing clearly the reason why we were there. The fear I felt by his actions that day melted away to a huge respect and feeling he was well in his rights to celebrate as he did every day driving that bus.

When the wall went down I knew I had been a tiny part of history. I could say, "yes, I have seen it with my own eyes." Twenty years later I realize just what a big part of history it was. I realize the importance of that wall coming down. As many wish over the years, I wish when I saw that wall at such a young age that I truly understood the weight and importance of it and its time and place in history.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Transcription - G. W. Duncan - Coffin and Grave

I guess my previous post was what I needed to shed my mood. Tonight I decided to look at what I had saved in Footnote and to start transcribing. This file has 12 pages of information. I did find a clue or two in this information. I am seeing very clearly why transcribing is important, especially for a skimmer like me. I can pinpoint Jane Edwards Duncan to Hendersonville, NC in 1862. I will see if there are newspapers from there in any archives.

{Edit:  Oh discrepancy!  I wonder if his age was written down when he mustered in or if he gave the wrong age.  By taking the age of 29 that he was listed as when he died, that places him born abt 1832.  His wife was born 1817 and their son William Franklin was born in 1842.  That would make G.W. 10 years old??  More research to be done.  In the statement below it is mentioned he was 42 at time of death.}

From North Carolina Troops
A Roster

Compiled by Weymouth T Jordan, Jr.
Vol. VII

Duncan, George W., Private

Born in Ashe County and resided in Yancey County where he was by occupation a farmer prior to enlisting in Yancey County at age 29, July 26, 1861.  Died n hospital at Knoxville, Tennessee, June 20-27, 1862 of "diarrhoea."

The reference card:

Duncan - G.W.
Co. G. 29th N.C.

Reference Card

See Manuscript No. 1687 Page …
Coffin and Grave
Dated - July 16 1862


I certify that the within named George W Duncan a private of Capt E H Hampton's company (G) 29th Regt NC Troops was born in Ash County in the State of NC.  Age 42 years five feet nine inches high.  Fair complexion blue eyes black hair.  And by occupation a farmer.  Was enlisted by M Chandler at Day Brook in Yancey County in the State of NC on the 26th day of July 1861 to serve one year and died at Knoxville Tennessee in regular hospital of dioreiah on the 27th day of June 1862.  A left the following effect {viz} two suits of clothes, two blankets and 36 dollars in money all of which was hand over to his leagal adminstrator, Jane M Duncan except one suit of clothes which was used in burying him.  Given in duplicate at Beau Station, Tenn this 8th day of July 1862.  E.H. Hampton, Capt.  Comdg Comp 29th Regt, NC Troops.

Auditor/Comptroller Document:

The Confederate States

To George W Duncan, deceased, late Private of Capt.  Hampton  Co G 29th Reg't, North Carolina Troops Dr.

For pay from 1st May the date of which he was last paid by Capt. Neill A 2 M to 27th June, 1862 the date of his Death.
1 month & 17 Days @ $11 per Month

Commutation for Clothing



Per Certificate of Capt Hampton herewith.

Payable to B. M. Edward (?), Attorney of Jane E Duncan the Widow of said deceased Hendersonville N.C.

Treasury Department
Second Auditor's Office
June 6th 1863
C W Johnson, Clerk.

Comptroller's Office
June 9th, 1863
S.H. Boykin(?), Clerk.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Taming The Runaway Brain

I think maybe I am overwhelmed. Sometimes I feel like I do things over and over and I think I take good notes and I put everything in RM4. I don't have the best filing system but I am not disorganized either, I can find everything. One thing that I know I am struggling with and my common sense just jumped out with an answer the other day. My DAR line is documented by my mothers cousin. While I have the family history she wrote many years ago, I have never seen any of the documentation. Recently I found my Edwards line by a website (a great website!) done by someone else but still I have no documentation. So while it is "done", to me it is not "done". So I was putting a lot of thought into "should I redo research?" Well duh, yes! What if I find a new clue or new information and how would I know if it is new or not never having seen documentation! And, we should always double check our resources, etc.

So clearly I do know what I should be doing.. But maybe my brain is having problems in knowing where to start. And, as you can see, this is frustrating me because I am watching all my subscriptions ticking away, haha. Too, I am missing the boat on a lot of things. I do the primary look ups, chase down a lead with excitement when I have one but then I seem to drop the ball. I see all these fantastic Genealogist's uncovering all these documents I never get around looking for. So clearly my research skills have not rounded out yet.

I need a master checklist of all the things I can do to find an ancestor that I can use. I have one but can't say I like it that much so I will keep searching for something that covers everything I want with some minor tweaking of my own. Sometimes I think there is just too much information out there and I feel I am on overload. So when I feel like this about anything, back to basics seems to work for me.

So, I am allowing myself this down time but! it will not be wasted time. I have assigned myself three jobs. One, to put all my folder files into notebooks like DearMyrtle does on her January 2009 checklist. Two, I am going to get all my surnames and regions on mail lists. I have about 6 or 7 but I can do much better. Three, I am going to get all the forums I watch on my RSS feed in Bloglines.

It's a start.. I crave to research, I see so much potential in my family tree and so much missing information. So once I do these tasks, I guess I will pick a family line and start from scratch.  In the mean time I will continue to write a blog when topics interest me or I feel I have something to share.  The blog prompts are a fantastic thing.

I read about all these great collections being scanned for the world to see.. how do people get jobs like that! Lol.

If you read all the way through this.. thank you for listening to me ramble!